Finding Balance and Going Back to School
Being able enough to go to school, being wealthy enough, is a privilege.
I had these privileges before my mental illnesses manifested fully. My whole life I was able to use my mania to help me through hard times, and there were many, but now? With fibromyalgia as well? It blows me out. My body can no longer do it. I can't just ride my mania through the hard times; I have to face them.
It took me five years of facing my problems to be well enough to say I'm returning to school. This is a big deal to me. I've always dreamt of a four year, but stayed smart and aimed to finish my general education at smaller schools first. I have one more class until I have my associates degree finished...I was held back by my learning disability and several staff who needed a doctors note to believe I had it. All my hard work, all the hours of headaches from studying so much, wasted. Because a doctor needed to validate all the things I went through that has given me brain damage.
You see, when you experience trauma, the trauma causes black outs in parts of your brain. The more you experience, the less activity in certain areas. Our brain is trying not to hurt us further by doing this. It's a clever masking mechanism, but unfortunately, we lose our ability to control feelings associated with certain situations.
I was abused heavily as a child. I was raised by one of the hardest working people in the world. In fact, my entire family consists of workaholism. It's how we cope with our genetically inescapable anxiety. It's why addiction runs rampant in our family. Being raise by a workaholic perfectionist and a workaholic alcoholic who feels nothing sounds as enticing as you could imagine. There were moments where my Mom was the best. Where nobody but her could support me like she did. But, there were moments where things would fly into the wall and create holes. Testimonies of her anger and frustration with her life. A child can only blame themselves without explanation.
Because sometimes, I was the wall.
So as I find myself here, sharing about my brain damage, something most people aren't able to admit they have, I am hoping you can understand it is a miracle I'm finding my way back to school. To life in general. It will take every ounce of me to do so, and if I do it, I'll be the first in my family with a degree. Second in my entire family, cousins included. I'll have done it with only grants and financial aid. I'll have done it despite having mild cognitive dysfunction and test anxiety that causes me to dissociate through minutes of my limited test time. People will give me the accommodations I need. I'll make some friends who love to study what I do. Maybe I'll even meet another asexual person there.
It's going to be something I should have done a long time ago, but I'm learning to appreciate it for it's existence at all. I am so, so lucky to be here. Alive. But also thriving. Because kids like me? They usually don't make it past 25. I celebrate this year knowing all I've endured was all a part of me finding my balance. It took 25 years to get here, but I'm starting to live a life I'm proud of.